When people ask me where I shop, I tend to reply with a confused look on my face and say "What brands do I wear? Or where do I get them?"
I have a strict policy of never paying full price for my favorite styles (unless you can find them full price at Forever 21 for under $20). Its always either straight to the sales, or checking out my favorite local consignment/thrift shops. Although options are limited in my area, I have a few huge favorites in Downtown Belmont. Gigi's Boutique and Fine Consignment for designer brands and new boutique items, and The Second Fiddle for unique and antique finds.
Last week I was in Sunset Beach (NC) and had a super opportunity to check out unknown territory in the thrift shopping world. We took an afternoon to check some stores out (the ones that weren't closed down!) and I found a few great pieces!
(scroll past photos for tips!)
Sometimes thrift shopping can feel a little frustrating and overwhelming. Not every store is going to be for you, or have exactly what you were looking for. Don't be discouraged!
Here are twelve tips to take along with you on your thrift and consignment shopping adventures:
1) Finding shops: Don't know where to begin? Try thethriftshopper.com or mobile app Thrift Buddy to help locate stores in your area!
2) Trends: Know the trends before you go. Check your favorite stores and magazines, so you can get the latest trends you want at a better price.
3) Donate: Not only is it good thrift karma to donate or consign upon arrival, but its a good idea to get rid of those old pieces you never wear before bringing new ones in. (If consignment, you may need to call first to make an appointment!)
4) Set a Limit: Know how much you're going to spend that day. Its easy to get caught up in the sales and lose track of money. You're trying to save money here!
5) Bring Cash: Not all thrift stores take debit/credit, its best to take cash with you. Also, these stores don't make huge bucks off of your purchase already, with plastic you may be charged extra to make up for the percentage they have to pay!
6) BYOB: Bring your own shopping bag or large purse to take with you, especially if walking from shop to shop. Its easier than carrying around several bags, (and also good for the environment and stuff!)
7) Discouragement: NEVER walk out of a store at first glance of its inventory. You'd be surprised what you can find in the "grandma" store!
8) Check the sales: Many thrift/consignment stores have signs up when you walk in about whats on sale (yellow tags %40 off, all dresses half off, etc.). Make a mental note, or take a picture of this on your phone or camera so you don't have to keep walking back and forth to the sign when you want to check a tag's sale. Also, many shops have a day designated for big sales. Be sure to find these things out upon or before visiting a shop, so if you're willing to wait you can get your items at an even lower price.
9) Patterns!: The most exciting thing (to me) when thrift shopping is finding awesome patterns and textures. You can always alter the piece if need be, you can't find those patterns anywhere!
10) When you see it GRAB it: Someone else may spot the same awesomeness you do. Don't pass by! Grab it, even if it's just a maybe. You can always put it back later.
11) Inspect Your Items Closely: Careful! Don't come home with messed up items! Check for snags, stains, weird smells, broken zippers, missing buttons before you buy! You can bring a tide pen with you to check and see if stains are permanent!
12) Discipline: Don't buy just because its only $5! Consider: do you have anything similar in your closet already, can you wear it immediately or will have to wait for a special occasion, and if its practical for YOU to wear. Its great to get bold and try something new, but don't buy something you'll never wear.
Hope these helped! Remember people, thrifting isn't tacky anymore, there are some great donations, and its a stellar way to build up your closet on a budget!